High Street

WH Smith to axe 1,500 roles

WH Smith has launched a collective consultation that could see around 1,500 roles across the business axed in a bid to restructure the business.

It comes as the group said it expects to deliver a full-year loss of between £70m and £75m following impacted sales. 

The retailer said that the “difficult decision” to review its operations and restructure the business is a result of lower footfall and passenger numbers across UK high streets in the wake of the pandemic. 

Having previously predicted that total revenue would be down between 80% and 85% from April until the end of its financial year on 31 August 2020, it notes that sales have made a “gradual recovery”, but remain materially down against the year prior.

As of July 2020, total group revenue is down by 57%, while high street revenue is down by 25%. 

WH Smith Group CEO, Carl Cowling said: “In our travel business, while we are beginning to see early signs of recovery in some of our markets, the speed of recovery continues to be slow. At the same time, while there has been some progress in our high street business, it does continue to be adversely affected by low levels of footfall. 

“As a result, we now need to take further action to reduce costs across our businesses. I regret that this will have an impact on a significant number of colleagues whose roles will be affected by these necessary actions, and we will do everything we can to support them at this challenging time.”

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